Philanthropy >>

Blackmun-Elsberry Scholar rebounds to Emory Law

By Michelle Hiskey | Development Communications | Dec. 11, 2013

Story image

Atlantan Chelsea G. Brewer (2015 Law) is the most recent recipient of the Blackmun-Elsberry Scholarship at Emory University School of Law. This scholarship was established during Campaign Emory by Sally Blackmun (1976 Law) and husband Michael V. Elsberry (1974 Law) of Winter Park, Fla.

The funding helped Brewer continue her legal education after her previous law school in South Carolina was sold in summer 2013. Brewer had been ranked eighth in her class of 160, with a 3.7 GPA; she served on the law review and won CALI awards as the top-scoring student in civil procedure, legal research, analysis and writing. A few weeks before classes began, Brewer transferred to Emory.  

How did this funding help you choose Emory?
My second year at Charleston School of Law was supposed to begin in late August 2013, but in late July I learned the school's founders had sold the school to a for-profit company. I started applying quickly to other schools. Charleston had given me a substantial scholarship, so I didn't know if I could work out paying for a law school like Emory's. Being from Atlanta, I already knew Emory had an amazing law school, and receiving this scholarship gave me the final push. 

This scholarship is awarded to a law student in their second or third year. Is that significant to you?
Yes, because there's a lot to be said for someone who can flourish in law school. It's very trying, and it's not for everybody. The first year is the hardest, so this funding is a great reward for working hard. I believe it is indicative of future performance. 

What was your previous education?
I went to Lassiter High School in Cobb County, then the University of Georgia. I majored in philosophy to prepare for law through the Socratic method and critical thinking. 

Why did you choose law?
It sounds cheesy, but family and friends always said that I should probably be a lawyer. In an AP government class in high school, I participated in a mock trial. Litigation drew me to the law, and every step I took along the way furthered my desire and confidence that I was making the right decision. 

What are your plans?
My experience at my previous law school made me realize that we all need advocates who have our interests at heart. As a summer associate in a small firm specializing in tax law, I did a lot of innocent-spouse relief cases. They had signed incorrect tax returns without knowing their spouses understated the tax owed. These are average citizens, and I dealt mostly with wives. It was nice to be a voice for people when they cannot advocate for themselves. 

What would you like the donors to know?
Their scholarship took a tremendous weight off my shoulders, and it makes me feel appreciated and wanted here.